Monday, Dec 11, 2023

Review: Sifu

Review: Sifu

Improve with age

Sifu is all about revenge. Sifu's story is about revenge. It lies behind the music, the action, and the fists. You climb up a mountain and then get kicked down. Sifu completion means more than just mastering the systems. It also means becoming so in tune with them that you don't think so much. It is a rewarding experience, and it is well worth it.

Sifu tells the story of a young student who watches their master be killed by five intruders. After years of training, the student sets out on a simple mission: cross five names from a list and avenge their master. Each boss has a level that is based on them and includes dozens and dozens of goons.

Sifu (PC [reviewed], PlayStation4, PS5) Developers: Sloclap Publishers: Sloclap Publication: February 8, 2022 MSRP $39.99

Developer Sloclap already attempted the 3D mahjong arts brawler with some success with Absolver. Sifu's move set is more focused than Absolver, which was a fantasy world full of deck-building brawling. There are many combinations, but it isn't a complicated stance system.

The problem is how quickly you can die. It's easy to be surrounded and subjected to an unstoppable assault of feet and fists until your death. You have more to your side than martial arts. The family medallion helps you recover and get back on your feet, even if it means that you have to spend more time. Students can be rescued from falling by forfeiting years of their lives every time they fall.

It's simple enough: you die at 20 and your death count goes up to 1. You rise at 21. Your death counter will increase the next fall, adding more years to your penance. You won't lose a year with each recovery. Soon, you will be losing five to six. You are getting closer to your 70s, when you'll stop getting up.

Sifu is, to put it bluntly: difficult. It is one of the most difficult games I have ever played and requires a lot from you. The moment-to-moment combat is part of the difficulty. It can be difficult to manage a group of enemies, especially when they use deadly weapons, switch up their attacks, go for sweeps, and hit with such force that your strikes don't stun them.

Sifu may have made me reconsider my perception of myself as a gamer who is prone to difficulty. After beating a boss on a few attempts, I felt elated and proud. I would complain that I wasn’t sure I’d make it to the final, but then I would proudly lift my fist high as I did.

This wire is very thin and rewarding to walk on. It's too difficult to see the other side and it becomes masochistic. Too close and it becomes too easy. Somehow, Sloclap strikes dead center. Sifu is worth the effort. It's a tale of revenge with a little heart at its end. Although it may not always work out perfectly, it has a lot style and action backing it up.

As it turns out, vengeance isn't always worth it. Sifu is for you if your passion is climbing mountains of difficulty.

[This review is based upon a retail version of the game that was provided by the publisher.]

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